Shopping with Kids: Easing the Burden

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You should engage your toddler in discussions about things you buy, both to create a learning experience with them and also to keep their attention focused on a safe area with you. Asking them to identify fruits and vegetables in the grocery store or showing them how to read package labels not only involves them in the shopping process but fosters learning at the same time.

To reward good behavior during the trip, bring along a favorite snack, or let them make a shopping decision or two like which flavor of juice to buy. Avoid rewarding them with a toy or candy bought outside your normal shopping list, as this may establish an unwanted expectation that they'll get it every time they go to the store.

Shopping with Older Children

Older children who can navigate shopping areas on their own present new challenges: keeping them nearby and keeping them well behaved during your shopping trip. Giving older children tasks to help you with the shopping will help you finish your errands quicker and give the child a new sense of responsibility.

Have your child help you locate specific items on the shelf, or if they're old enough, send them to other aisles to find items alone. Children of all ages like to be involved in the purchasing decisions, so let them pick out their favorite flavor of cereal, or choose a new brand of shampoo.